Another TED talk. Fake it to make it, she says: if you adopt confident poses, you become confident, but first you appear confident to others. Just two minutes in a power pose creates an effect lasting an hour after.
OK, try it. I sit up straight, with my spine curved forwards in a healthy position. My feet are flat on the floor, my forearms resting on the arms of the chair. My head is up. I am relaxed and comfortable, taking my space in the room. And a few moments later, I am curled up, shoulders hunched, face to the wall, hand on my neck. Touching the neck is a passive and submissive pose. For a long time I had the habit of nodding my head forward and scratching the back of my neck. I am alone. Why is this submissive pose the position I adopt? It feels better- why?
Next morning (16th) at Meeting I feel assailed by the holiness of the room. I walk into the meeting room, and it feels different from the hallway. In the dojo, I would bow on entering, and in an Anglican church I would curtsey to the communion table, and here I have no gesture I can make to acknowledge Spirit, no ritual to make everything alright. Instead I sit, marvelling that I may be in such a place. I say that in Ministry, though with my cold I find myself speaking quietly and huskily.
First I sit with my spine erect, hands folded on my lap, and then think again of the power poses. I rest my right arm on the arm rest. This is a more expanded position, and hands on knees (slightly apart under my calf-length skirt) is stronger than hands folded. I take up this position, and in a moment find myself, legs and arms crossed, hunched over as if protecting myself, my hand on my neck.
I could label this. Our species has a pecking order, and this is Dalit pose- is it “innate”? Is it adopted- when? I am not a confident person: which came first, the pose or the confidence-level? Fake it to make it, says Amy Cuddy, you can produce an immediate transient effect by two minutes, and a permanent effect by continuing practice. But when I find myself touching my neck, it feels as if I am “really” stretching it, or it has an itch needing scratched, or even that I enjoy the sensation of my fingers touching my mouth. Do I really want to be submissive? There is no-one to submit to, at the moment.
All I can say is, it is. There is a resistance in me to standing like Wonder Woman. If I try it I find myself in my most submissive poses as soon as I relax my conscious attention.